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DreamHost Review: a Slice Simple WordPress Hosting Heaven

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Editor’s note: This review was updated September 2017 to reflect DreamHost updates. 

DreamHost is a feature-packed host at a budget-friendly price. No matter what type of hosting environment you’re looking for, there’s a package to suit your needs. But, is it right for your blog or site?

Below we take a deep look at DreamHost, including the type of hosting packages offered and its features, so you can get a good idea if it’s going to be the right fit for your website.

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DreamHost Package Breakdown

DreamHost has been around for over a decade. Relying on a host that has been around for a while means you can rest easy knowing they have worked out any service kinks.

Below we take a look at the various hosting packages offered.

Shared Hosting

There’s a single-tier of shared hosting that caters to beginner and intermediate website owners. Having a single offering makes choosing your hosting package easier, but it means complete beginners will be paying the same price as users with high traffic sites. However, it also means you can grow with your host.

The shared hosting plan offers unlimited disk storage space, email access, domains, and monthly data transfers, along with features highlighted below:

  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth if you comply with the terms and conditions
  • Unlimited number of domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Unlimited disk space

VPS Hosting

DreamHost offers VPS hosting for users that demand more power and the ability to handle higher volumes of traffic. Its VPS servers are Linux based and don’t currently support Windows servers.

The basic VPS plan has 1 GB and RAM and 30 BG of SSD storage and runs all the way up to 8 GB of RAM and 240 GB of SSD storage.

Its VPS plans are equipped with:

  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth
  • Ability to host an unlimited number of domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Unlimited disk space
  • 50 GB of backup space
  • Full shell, SSH, FTP, and SFTP access

Dedicated Server Hosting

If you have a fairly large website, receive a high volume of traffic, or have a very specific server environment, then you might be a good fit for a dedicated hosting package. With dedicated hosting, you’ll receive 1TB of storage, up to 16 GB of RAM, and unlimited data transfers.

The dedicated servers only run on Linux, so if you require Windows-based servers, then you’ll need to find another host. Its dedicated hosting plans also come with additional features like:

  • Ability to host an unlimited number of domains
  • Full shell, SSH, FTP, and SFTP access
  • An unlimited number of MySQL databases
  • Unlimited email accounts

There are a variety of dedicated hosting packages that range from 500 GB of disk space and 2 GB of RAM all the way up to 1 TB of disk space and 16 GB of RAM.

WordPress Hosting

If you’re a WordPress site owner and are looking to get the most power and performance out of your WordPress site, then using WordPress hosting is a no-brainer.

dreamhost wordpress hosting

DreamHost offers a WordPress hosting package called DreamPress 2. Its managed WordPress hosting offers benefits like daily automatic backups, WordPress security upgrades, and other WordPress specific optimizations.

This package also comes equipped with:

  • 30GB of storage
  • Unlimited email use and storage
  • Monthly data transfers
  • A variety of free WordPress themes
  • 1-click WordPress installation
  • Scalable and optimized server environments
  • Dedicated WordPress support staff

Cloud Hosting

DreamHost recently added a cloud server package. This is perfect for users looking to run a cloud-based application and supports MongoDB, Redis, Python, Ruby, and Node.js. All of the cloud hosting accounts begin with 100 GB of storage and free bandwidth.

Its cloud servers offer you incredible speed, the ability to scale as you need, full root access, and even migration of your workloads to your own private cloud when necessary.

Depending upon the package you choose you’ll also have access to:

  • 1 vCPU to 4 vCPU
  • 512 MB to 8GB of RAM
  • 80 GB SSD Disk

Control Panel Access

If you’re looking for typical cPanel access, then you might be little frustrated. Instead of using the standard cPanel to let users manage their hosting environments, DreamHost has built its own control panel dubbed Web Panel.

control panel
Don’t get overwhelmed by DreamHost’s control panel! It might be bit different, but it is very intuitive to use once you get the hang of it.

Its web panel has been built from the ground up to provide a very intuitive platform for managing your hosting and has been designed with non-technical website owners in mind.

Web Panel Pros

Dreamhost’s custom control panel offers a similar feature selection to cPanel, including things like:

  • Manage your subscriptions and billing
  • Access support, the knowledgebase, and community forum
  • Access and manage email
  • Manage your domains
  • Create and manage .htaccess
  • Create and manage your MySQL databases
  • Access any cloud hosting services
  • Configure and manage your VPS server
  • Access the Remixer site builder

It is nice being able to handle your billing, site management, support, and technical requests from the same dashboard.

Plus, the popular one-click install is much easier to use than cPanel.

Web Panel Cons

If you’ve been a strict user of cPanel, then you might find the switch to Web Panel a little awkward. From the start, the design is much different and every feature is shown as a different icon.

With two separate menus for navigation, it might be a little difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. However, once you overcome the confusing navigation, you’ll get used to its design rather quickly.

Finally, if you’re migrating over to DreamHost, then you’ll have to manually import all of your previous cPanel files and databases, which can be a hassle.

DreamHost Website Builder

For a long time, DreamHost didn’t have a built-in site builder to help beginner’s build out their first websites. But, with the recent release of Remixer, that problem is a thing of the past.

Remixer allows you to easily build a website with no coding knowledge required. Just select one of the themes in the library, upload your own content, and use the click to edit interface to customize your site to your liking.

There are over 70 different content sections you can edit including, contact forms, image galleries, map integration, and more. Plus, the editor allows you to view what your site will look like on mobile, tablet, and desktop before you press publish. If you’re looking to take your design even further you can edit your site’s HTML.

One-Click Install

Like most web hosts that cater to beginners, there is a one-click install through its web panel.

Support is offered for the following applications:

  • Joomla
  • GetSimple CMS
  • MediaWiki
  • phpBB
  • Pligg
  • WordPress
  • ZenCart

Datacenter Locations

DreamHost currently boasts three different datacenters. Two being on the west coast and one on the east coast. Having more than one data center location can be helpful during power outages or blackouts. When you’re signing up for a hosting package you’ll want to specify the datacenter location that’s closest to you, or where the majority of your visitors are coming from.

Plus, if you’re having a technical problem that actually has to do with the server environment, there are support teams at the physical locations of the servers.

Technical Support

DreamHost has its own in-house support staff. This is a nice change from other hosts who simply outsource its customer support. The team is available 24/7, so you’re supported whenever you’re experiencing a problem with your site.

You can place a support request through your web panel, or even use the website’s contact form. Or utilize live chat and email support. Sadly, DreamHost doesn’t currently offer phone support for users who would rather speak to a representative.

You’ll also gain access to an extensive knowledge base that can help you diagnose and solve most of your problems. Plus, a community forum that’s filled with product experts and customers just like you.

Overall, the speed of its support is top-notch, but the lack of phone support might be a turnoff for some users.

Uptime and Service Guarantees

You want a host that stands behind its uptime guarantee, or at the very least boasts solid uptime numbers.

DreamHost offers an incredible 100% uptime guarantee. If your site goes down for any time at all you’ll get a refund for the portion of time your site was offline. Fortunately, DreamHost rarely goes down, if at all.

Since the downtime policy only begins once you submit a support request it’s important to open a support ticket the moment you expect a problem. The credit you’ll receive during downtime is calculated by 1 day of credit for every hour of downtime and will be capped at a maximum of 10% of your existing hosting fee.

Money Back Guarantee

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a host is to try them out yourself. Luckily, DreamHost offers a money back guarantee.

DreamHost goes well beyond the traditional money back guarantee and offers a 97-day money back guarantee. However, there are some resections to the money back guarantee. Namely, you need to have signed up for your account using a credit card and your account has to be in good standing and hasn’t been flagged for breaching the terms of service.

Assuming your account remains in good standing, nearly three months is plenty of time to see if DreamHost is going to be the right fit for your business.

3 Reasons to Host With DreamHost

DreamHost offers site owners a ton of benefits. There’s an incredible support staff and offer a variety of hosting packages to cater to every kind of website owner. Below we take a look at some of the main reasons you’ll want to host with DreamHost.

1. Incredible Uptime and Performance

It’s difficult to find such a high-performing host at this price point. DreamHost not only provides stellar uptime but actually stand behind this claim by providing an extra day of service for every hour of downtime you experience. We haven’t seen a guarantee like this anywhere else.

Beyond uptime, it’s a very high-performance host. The loading speeds are incredibly fast, which is a must-have if you’re looking to compete online today.

2. Unlimited Bandwidth

Most hosts say they offer unlimited bandwidth, but when it gets down to the nuts and bolts it really isn’t unlimited after all.

DreamHost is different in that it actually offers unlimited bandwidth. When your site grows in popularity you don’t have to worry about network transfer or disc storage. Now, if your site has issues with optimization and is causing issues for other sites on a shared server, then you may be asked to upgrade to a private server.

There are some restrictions for sites whose sole purpose is to use disc space or bandwidth, so if your site does any of the following you won’t be able to use unlimited:

  • You have copyrighted content you don’t hold the rights to.
  • You run a file sharing and upload site.
  • Your site is built to drive traffic to another site.
  • Your account resources are being made available to the public.

3. Stellar Support

DreamHost has a very responsive support team. Whenever you run into an issue you can count on the support team to help you resolve your problem in as little time as possible.

Plus, there’s 24/7 support, from its actual staff. There’s no outsourcing here, like a lot of companies do. However, there isn’t any phone support. All support requests must be handled via email and live chat.

3 Reasons to Look Elsewhere for Hosting

DreamHost is a solid host, but still might not be right for every kind of website. If pricing is the main concern, or you demand more options geared towards setting up your first website, then there are better options out there. Below we look at three different reasons you might want to choose a host that’s not DreamHost.

1. It Can Be Pricey for a Budget Host

By all accounts the starter shared hosting package for DreamHost is geared towards budget-conscious website owners. But, the starter plan for DreamHost is on the pricier end of the spectrum.

Most starter hosts have basic packages for around $5 per month, but DreamHost’s is almost double that. If the price is your sole consideration for choosing a host, then there are cheaper options. Just remember you get what you pay for. If your goal is growth, you might find yourself need to switch later anyway.

2. Lack of Original cPanel

Most hosts offer you cPanel access that remains pretty straightforward across any web host you use. But, DreamHost has created its own cPanel.

Those who have been using cPanel for years might find this change a little frustrating. While those building their first sites probably won’t notice the difference. If you’re a master of cPanel and want to keep using it, then there are plenty of hosts with the standard cPanel to choose from.

3. Only One Type of Shared Hosting

DreamHost caters to essentially every version of website owner. This is both good and bad. Sure, you have a lot of choices, but this does come at a cost.

For example, there’s only a single version of shared hosting. Instead of offering multiple tiers of shared hosting, there’s a single package that caters to both beginner and intermediate site owners.

dreamhost signup

In Closing

Overall, DreamHost is on the pricier end of the spectrum for beginner hosting packages. But, those added costs are for good reason. It’s an incredibly reliable and high-performing host. Plus, the money back guarantee can help to ensure your satisfaction if it’s not the right fit.

The wide variety of hosting packages give you room to grow. DreamHost is a true one stop shop for all of your hosting needs.

Check out DreamHost’s hosting packages for your website. »

Plus, if you ever run into any technical issues the support team has your back 24/7. Whether you’re looking for a high-performance shared host, or want a host that can offer you a customized hosting package, then DreamHost is worth trying out.

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Kevin Wood is a freelance writer specializing in technology and human potential. When he’s not digging deep into technical topics, you might find him getting lost in the woods or scrawling lines of poetry in a notebook.

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